General William Barr has issued a ruling in Matter of L-E-A that
overrules Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) precedent. In this case, Barr
denied asylum relief to a Mexican national who fled the country due to cartel
violence. Specifically, the asylum seeker alleged violence by a gang who were
targeting his father’s store under the direction of a local cartel.
his ruling, Barr considerably narrowed eligibility for asylum based on
persecution as a result of membership in a particular social group, which in
this case was a family-based group. Barr stated in the decision that membership
in a family group did not constitute membership in a particular social group
for asylum purposes. To qualify, the group must be socially distinct in the
eyes of society, not the eyes of the persecutor.
a result of this ruling, it appears that even if a gang threatens to torture
and kill individuals or their families, it is not a basis for asylum. Even if a
gang or cartel has targeted a family for violence, immigrants are ineligible for
asylum based on their status as immediate family members.
law experts claim that the L-E-A decision rewrites years of immigration
law precedent. Some also see the decision as a specific assault on the influx
of Central American migrants. Many of these individuals have suffered violence
or threats to themselves or their family members from cartels and gangs.
Federal law permits the Attorney General to overrule BIA decisions since the BIA is part of the Justice Department. This is the second time this year that Barr has overruled a BIA decision, on the heels of his predecessor, Sessions, who took the same steps during his tenure as Attorney General. All these decisions seem to have the common purpose of not only limiting asylum in general but surreptitiously limiting asylum for Central American migrants.
No matter the type of immigration issue you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you. We handle many different types of immigration cases every day and have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your legal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to resolve your immigration law case successfully.
Attorney General William
Barr recently took an unusual step to expand his authority to change
immigration law vastly. Barr resurrected an 11-year-old
proposed regulation and made it final within 60 days without
any opportunity for the public comment. Typically, a set period of notice and
comment occurs before a federal government agency publishes a final rule or
regulation. Under this rule, the Attorney General immediately can declare any
Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decisions as precedent binding on
immigration judges, without being subject to any checks and balances or
utilizing the standard procedures. The regulation was proposed during the
George W. Bush administration, but it was never finalized until the current
administration suddenly revived it.
According to critics, the
finalization of this rule has allowed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to
continue to strip immigration judges of their decision-making power and attempt
to influence their decisions. The rule also has reignited a call for the
immigration court system to operate independently from the DOJ.
Barr’s first significant
power grab since taking office is highly reminiscent of the tactics of former
Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The former AG took various steps to limit the
rights and due process of immigrants to remain in the country as much as
possible. This rule essentially allows Barr to make immigration court decisions
himself and exercise control over how immigration judges make decisions in
Under current law, immigrants who wish to challenge further the decisions made by immigration judges must appeal those decisions to the BIA. The BIA then decides those appeals, but their decisions remain unpublished unless a majority of the 21-member BIA opts to publish them as precedent for the immigration courts below. Typically, the BIA publishes only about 30 decisions per year. Under the new rule, however, the Attorney General will be able to declare a particular decision to be precedent on his own, which obligates the immigration courts to follow the decision.
Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.
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